The UK Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, has published the terms of reference for an independent review of the High Speed 2 project, led by Douglas Oakervee, the former Crossrail Executive Chairman. The review will consider “whether and how should proceed” with the High Speed 2 project, considering its benefits and impacts, affordability and efficiency, deliverability and scope and its phasing, including its relationship with Northern Powerhouse Rail.
The independently-led government review will allow the government to make properly-informed decisions on the future of Phases 1 and 2 of the project.
A final report will be sent to the Secretary of State, with oversight from the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer, by the autumn. The report will inform the government’s decisions on next steps for the project. Limited, largely preparatory works, on the project will continue in parallel with the report’s work.
“The Prime Minister has been clear that transport infrastructure has the potential to drive economic growth, redistribute opportunity and support towns and cities across the UK, but that investments must be subject to continuous assessment of their costs and benefits. That’s why we are undertaking this independent and rigorous review of HS2,” Grant Shapps said.
Recently, the Prime Minister has stated his wish to review “whether and how we proceed” with HS2 ahead of the ‘Notice to Proceed’ decision for Phase 1, between London and West Midlands due by the end of 2019.
The review will assemble and test all the existing evidence in order to allow the British authorities to make properly-informed decisions on the future of Phases 1 and 2 of the project, including the estimated cost and schedule position.